Evolving Art

Symmetry always has its own visual appeal. While form and balance seem to tie together in most artistic creations, the sentiment that they bring out in art enthusiasts is more than just a geometric phenomenon. Since May 21, 2002 the Nickle Arts Museum saw the development of a perfect harmony; a performance piece called Fidelity √Člite.

The gallery’s farthest wall hangs approximately 50 black and white photographs of different objects in a serial display. Images of two molding pears, a camera breaking down, and three film holders, each occupying a row across the wall seem a bit too random upon first glance. However, these well-aligned photographs show the daily stages of the pears decaying, the camera slowly being taken apart, and the film holders being layered by thick paint. Further examination reveals that together they display a progress of de-evolution on the left, and a continual evolvement on the right, each extending to the corners of opposite directions, with newly developed photographs continually being added.

The idea came to the mind of photographer Arthur Nishimura when he was taking pictures of Eric Cameron’s thick painting (a form of sculpture built by gradual additive layering of paint on objects).

"You always see the final product, but never the intermediate places of the process," Nishimura explains. "I wanted to establish the process in a more concrete way. To me, the process is always the most interesting thing."

The fusion of two talents took its course in this cooperative series of work. Each day Cameron comes into the gallery and paints alternating layers of color to the film holders; Nishimura arrives afterwards to take precisely seven one-take-only pictures of each object, including his own disassembly of an old camera. Together they create a piece that stresses on development rather than completion.

"Coming from an Eastern culture, you look at the way you fit in, not just as a complete human being, but rather how you develop into it," says Nishimura. "’It’s the journey, not the destination’-and all that clich√©."

With the dates clearly printed on each picture, viewers feel like they’re participating in the process when they follow the photographs down the wall. Some even find themselves returning time after time to see how the art pieces are maturing.

"It’s not a traditional exhibition, it’s a performance piece. Things you see aren’t static," adds Nishimura. "In fact, change is something [people of the East] don’t question. They say, ‘there’s nothing absolute except change.’"